Monday, May 14, 2012

Porches and Decks

I love our covered front porch which we altered slightly from the original, which you can see at www.keymodularhomes.com .  (Our house is based on the "Waterbury").  We chose to have a composite material for the flooring, and in an effort to save a little we went with the traditional wood railings.  There’s plenty of room for seating, and our little one even has enough room to ride his scooter back and forth.  In the future, we plan to wrap the porch around to the back of the house to incorporate a deck and patio area.  I’ve been buying lottery tickets with no luck so far.
Regardless, most modular homes come with the option of decks and porches and there are different floor materials for one to consider. Obviously you want your porch or deck to look good for years to come.

Wood is the most common choice for a porch or deck floor.  Of course it looks natural, cuz it is!  Maintenance is essential, and you will have to treat the wood so that it doesn't crack or change color due to weather and sun.  I had a wood deck on my old house that I had to stain and weather proof every spring.  We had a large tree that provided essential shade over one side of the deck.  When it rained, the area of the deck under the shade of the tree stayed damp and would grow a fine moss, which was very slippery and had to be power washed frequently.

Pressure Treated Wood is treated with preservatives.  It is inexpensive and is resistant to rot from the elements and insects, but it will still warp and bend. It has to be treated as wood to prevent the warping.

Composite is another option. Composite is a combination of wood and plastic. When composite decking/flooring first came on the market it wasn't without problems, but the technology has come a long way.  Today composite decking is very durable and will last a long time, and is very low maintenance.  It won’t warp or crack and is ideal for uncovered areas, as it won’t fade (as much) in the sun.  You will have to clean it, but a power wash now and again is about all there is to it.  The downfall, is composite is expensive!

Here’s a picture of our porch with the composite floor and the wood railings (that still need to be stained).

It is very simple to make your porch and extension of your living space.  In the summer, I sometimes miss my house because we spent so much time on the porch or deck!

Now, I’m not big on gardening, much to my mother’s chagrin, but I do like container gardening.  Porches and decks let you create miniature gardens in outdoor containers, or container gardens.  As soon as we are out of the danger of frost, I will be planting a lot of pots for the front porch.  Not only is it easier than gardening, you can move the containers anywhere at any time.  Hanging plants not only look beautiful, but they can act as natural privacy shield if hung in the right place.  I also like the look of evergreen shrubs or small trees planted in pots.  Year round color!

If you need a little privacy from neighbors, or just like the look, there are all kinds of outdoor curtains and blinds to hang from either end of your porch.  Or, do as a friend of mine has and head to the fabric store to pick out a fabric you love.  Hang it up using furniture tacks.  Use table cloth weights at the bottom of the fabric to keep it from blowing too much.

You can decorate a porch just like you would inside.  There are indoor/outdoor rugs that look beautiful on a deck or porch.  Throw pillows, candles, vases, bowls - all can have a home outside.  And I love white twinkle lights on the porch all year round.  You don’t have to string them up, just put them in plants or cluster them in a big bowl. Happy porch sitting!